Sunday, January 15, 2017

Photo of the Week #2: My Lit Candle

This is a candle I was given for Christmas. Isn't it pretty? I love candles. They are so warm and inviting, give off a warm glow, and smell great if you get the right scent. (This one is called "Raspberry Ice" and it smells good to me.) I have it sitting on top of our buffet (i.e. china cabinet), and it is in a place where everyone can see it and enjoy it. It wouldn't make any sense to light my candle and then hide it under a bowl, or inside of a cabinet, would it? It is meant to be seen by all who are in the room.

That reminds me of a small portion from The Sermon on the Mount (Jesus' longest recorded sermon in the New Testament). The part I am talking about is found in Matthew 5:14-16, where Jesus says: 
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
One thing I noticed from the last part of these verses is how "shining our lights" (or, helping others to see Jesus in us) is not just about doing good works. It's about doing two things consecutively: doing good works AND giving the glory (or praise) to God. Let me share what Pastor Chip Bell has to say about this. He explains it well in an article on Bible.org
The hope, the goal, is that people will give praise to God. This is an important point to catch. The goal is not that people will say, “What great people those Christians are. Look at all the wonderful things they do to help people. Look at how honorable their lives are.” Rather, the goal is that people will say, “What a great God they follow.”

You know, the only way that will happen is that if we make it clear that the reason why we are living moral lives and doing good deeds is because we are following Jesus. If we don’t give God the credit, then we are not being a light to the world. I think this means that in every good thing we do for our fellow man, it is important that we give God the credit. If we do good, but fail to point people to Jesus, then we haven’t done what light is supposed to do. Being “salt” means that our lives should be characterized by goodness. Being “light” means that people are able to SEE that God is the source, and purpose and cause of our goodness. 

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